(The Saga of Caveman Hom, Episode 2)
Long story. Much happen:
Last night big meeting, men only. Me come late – me in cave with family, make net for fish. We sing song, children dance. Me happy. But wife, Gel, remember meeting, say ‘Hom, we forget big men meeting, you go!’ Me jump up quick, run to meeting place.
Meeting start already. Me sneak in, sit quiet. But Chief Boz see me! He say, ‘You! What name? Why late?’ Me say ‘Name Hom. Me make net with family. We sing. We dance. We happy. Me forget meeting. Me sorry.’ Boz make angry face, say, ‘You bad man. Only woman make net.’
Me surprise. Me say ‘Why only woman make net?’ Boz say, ‘Me talk. You listen.’ Me not like, but me stay quiet. Me not want trouble.
Chief Boz say bad women big problem, always talk, laugh at men, not obey. He say women dangerous. But he have big idea, solve bad women problem.
Chief say tribe need rules. He say hunting for men only, woman not allowed. Gather berries, woman only. Make nets for fish, woman only. Catch fish, men only. Cook fish, women only. Dance, sing – women only. Throw rock, make spear – men only. Many many rules! Me forget many.
Chief also make loincloth rule – he say, ‘Short loincloth, men only. Long one, women only.’ Me think rule stupid. Everyone know long loincloth good for winter, short one summer. Short one also good for hunting. Long loincloth good for walk in bush, protect legs from prickles.
Then Chief Boz make special rule for women. He say women must hide boobies with coconut. Boobies only for sex. Then he remember milk, too. He say baby allowed see boobies, but only for drink. All other time, women must hide with coconut. Me think Boz crazy. He scared of boobies.
Me say nothing, me already in trouble. But other man, Pev, he speak up, say ‘Me not like rule. Me want see boobies. Boobies nice. Why hide with coconut?’ Me think Chief Boz get angry, but no! He smile, say ‘Yes, nice boobies is problem. Men look boobies, forget everything.’
Next Boz talk much about boobies. He say this, he say that. Me forget details. But he think bad women make powerful magic with boobies, make men do evil bidding. Me laugh at Boz – he silly. But me hide laugh – he still Chief. Then other man speak up, name Gai.
Me like Gai – he friend, help Hom hunt pig many times, big success. Gai say to Chief, ‘No need coconut! Answer simple – men not look boobies. Not think sex, no problem. No need go mad.’ This make Boz angry, he say, ‘You quiet! You like sex only men! You not know power of women!’
So Gai sit down, go quiet. And Chief Boz speak more. He say women talk when gather berries, make nets, make food – also problem. He want stop bad women talk, laugh at men willy, make evil plot against tribe. He say he have good idea, stop all trouble from bad women.
Chief Boz wave hand, and other man stand. Me recognise man! It man who say he woman! He wear coconut on chest, like Chief say only for women. But Boz not mind! He smiling! Me confused. Me think maybe Boz think man who say he woman *is* woman! If Boz go this crazy, it very bad!
Chief Boz point man who say he woman, say ‘This Tra – he woman. See loincloth? It long. See coconut? These things only for women. So Tra is woman! Is logic, very simple. Me make Tra King of Women! King Tra help men, stop bad women talking.’ Now me shocked. Me not believe this.
Boz say King Tra go with women, but he not gather berries, not make nets, cook food – instead, he supervise. After all, he King! He make sure all women good. He listen talk, make sure no evil plotting. If bad women make trouble, King Tra hit with stick, report women to Chief.
Chief Boz happy – he think all tribe problem solved! King Tra smile too – now he real woman, but better, he King! But other men talking, very loud. Some men laughing! They think this joke, very funny. Other men grumbling, they say this not right – why not *they* King of Women?
Luckily Chief Boz remember – tribe is democracy! He make up rules, but tribe not follow until vote with coloured stones. So Boz call vote; he hand out stones. But he warn vote secret – we not tell women. This vote only for men. Me know this wrong, but me stay quiet. Me scared.
Chief say, ‘Each man have two stones. White stone mean yes to rules, black stone mean no. Each man choose, put stone in Bag of Voting – made fresh from bladder of pig. One stone only – white yes, black no. Ready? We go.’ Then men pass bag around, put stone in bag. Men vote.
Vote finish. Chief hand Bag to official Counting Man, name Mat. Mat very good at counting stones. He never wrong; everybody trust Mat. He tip stones on ground, but he gentle – he not let stones escape! Then Mat count stones; other men watch close. Vote important. Cheating bad.
Mat very careful. He count stones twice. He take time. But at last he know truth. Mat stand up to announce result. He say, ‘I count stones twice. I very careful. Now here is result of vote: white stones is more. So white win, black lose. Answer is yes – we agree new rules.’
Some men very happy! Jump up and down, make loud cheering! Other men still grumbling. Me not happy, me vote black for no. But too late, vote finished. Loser always sad. Chief Boz very happy, he jumping in air. King Tra also happy. He run forward, hug Chief Boz! Big celebration!
But then surprise happen! King Tra jumping, hugging, make coconut jiggle! Many stones fall out, hit ground, big rattling! All men see. All men know – this man Tra, he cheating! He hide stones in coconut, pick out white stone, put many in Bag! He think he clever, but we catch him!
Now men very angry! Some men run forward, want hurt Tra – they not care if he woman – he bad! But Boz say no! He tell men not attack. Tra have hard life – he woman who look just like man, so he sad. Chief say no problem – forget vote. No new rules today. Another time, he say.
Men still angry, but we tired. After while we calm, we leave meeting, go back to cave for sleep.
Me think we have lucky escape from madness of King Tra. But me still not happy. Me worried. Me want tell wife, Gel, want warn her. Me very afraid.
Future not look good.